Getrag's All Wheel Drive MINI In-Depth

Last year Getrag showed off it’s all-wheel drive MINI prototype at several industry only events throughout the world. There they not only demonstrated the car first hand, but delivered test data that demonstrated the benefits of the Getrag AWD system known as Twinster. The system has been designed for use on a number of different platforms and theoretically for a number of different automotive manufacturers. These presentations were mainly meant to sell the system to OEM manufacturers. However what makes this so fascinating for MINI owners is the fact that Getrag exclusively used a MINI Cooper S for all of their drivetrain testing.

MotoringFile has recently obtained this test data (in the form of a PDF presentation) that was passed out at one of these events. While the presentation uses industry jargon that may be a bit over the head of some of our readers, it does give us an overall impression of the performance that the AWD Twinster MINI is capable of. Interestingly they not only compare the Twinster to the normal front wheel drive MINI but to several other AWD configurations as well. There’s even a rear wheel drive version that is referenced!

mini

The presentation starts out with a simple question. Why a MINI for demonstration purposes. Here’s Getrags answer:

  • FWD with East-West Engine
  • Cooper S stands for Freudeam Fahren (Fun to drive)
  • More power than suitable for FWD ( >160 HP )
  • No AWD available
  • Package VERY tight = 4WD Version is challenging
  • Benchmark for Vehicle Dynamics
  • Objective comparison of different driveline configurations in one vehicle
  • Influence on traction
  • Influence on vehicle dynamics
  • How much improvement does each system deliver?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the winner was the Twinster AWD setup. Here’s their conclusion:

The TWINSTER showed the best performance of all tested systems:
  • Best cornering performance by Active Yaw function
  • when cornering
  • lowest steering angle
  • highest Lateral Acceleration
  • best handling performance
  • noticeable reduction of steer in understeering under acceleration while cornering
  • Best Traction performance by:
    • using dynamical weight increase on the primarily driven axle during acceleration
    • on split-µ the system acts like a combination of axle locking differential and hang on coupling

    So for those that have been wanting to know the ins and outs of the Getrag AWD system, here’s your chance. You can download the entire presentation in PDF format below:

    [ Getrag AWD Study ] .8 MB

    Of course none of this officially means that (A) we will eventually see an AWD MINI or (B) this will be the system that is used. But all that said, BMW has partnered with Getrag for years when it comes to the drivetrain area of it’s cars. Further, this system is well engineered and very much performance oriented, both prerequisites for BMW and MINI.

    (It may help in reading the presentation that the “µ” symbol stands for grip.)